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Arnold Mario Dall'O


19.05. 08.07.2023
Alessandro Casciaro
Art Gallery
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In the works of Arnold Dall’O, ideas and techniques are brought together in an absolute freedom of expression. It is easy to detect the hallmarks of a poetics that is oriented towards a juxtaposition of sculptural works and a decidedly conceptual style of painting. He is not an artist constrained by repetition and style, even if his works maintain patterns that can always be recognised. His expressive consciousness also leads him to be completely free, not only when he works on images that he frequently downloads from the net, but also when he turns late design pieces – chandeliers, furniture that seem to come from now forgotten catalogues and magazines – into protagonists in large paintings. I have been following his work since the 1990s and have always thought that this freedom was based on the certainty that the use of technology had a conceptual meaning that added to the subject of the work, supported it ideologically and interacted with it semantically. Behind his technique of painting with dabs of colour, a kind of contemporary pointillism, lies this concept of time-consuming execution, as if the painting were a kind of phenomenon, something that takes place like an event, that is slowly deposited on the surface of the painting. This is especially significant because Dall’O is revisiting the dimension of the mystery of how the images come into being and what they can mean. I emphasise the idea of “can”, as we are dealing here with a potential dimension, not a compelling, obligatory, ideological dimension: the images do not “have” to mean something in every case. In his work, and by means of a technique that does not dwell on describing details or creating works that can be superimposed on reality, the form or the image seem to emerge from out of nowhere. They give the impression of coming from a different dimension, as if it were a message sent out before time, which suddenly, almost by chance, becomes topical. This ability of his is also preserved in the installations, which are rather rare in his oeuvre as a whole, but which become a kind of epitome of a conception of art that is open to intuition, to emotion, to an involvement of the audience that goes far beyond visual shock or provocation. The dabs of colour that coagulate on the paintings and slowly become solid images, that become surfaces that are open to their surroundings, are conceptually similar to other works, such as the spheres that roll in perfect harmony on the gallery floor, in boxes or playpens where they are collected and stored. They have a life of their own, again you don’t know where they come from, they are there and that’s that. They move, driven by an inner energy, by something that doesn’t appear, but which is there. This becomes a real ability to appear far beyond the threshold of perception, because it is thought that has to go beyond that. This balance between the visible and the invisible is one of Arnold Dall’O’s great intuitions, because his work never fully reveals itself, it remains in a continuous shadow cone beyond painting, beyond sculpture, in a conceptual dimension that, in every instance, is always based on technique, because art cannot only be a declaration of good intentions. That is why Arnold Dall’O’s art seems to be constantly waiting for a title and does not want to be encapsulated in definitions of a linguistic or a classification nature. His relationship to spoken language, including critical language, should be a non-consequential one; both should flow in parallel, without any attempts at translation. In contrast to Paul Klee’s statement: “Art does not reproduce what is visible, but makes visible that which is not always visible”, Dall’O tries to deconstruct what is visible, to bring it closer to that threshold of invisibility that becomes a domain where emotions, ideologies and personal histories, social conditionings and behaviours mix into that mystery we carry within us which we call “memory”. He gives back to art that which has been taken from it. To mention a theme advocated by a great artist such as Gino de Dominicis: there are no words, signs, numbers, only images. The origin is an image, something that had no before, but which had an after, which persists to this day in the timescale. In 1970, in the “Lettera sull’Immortalità”, he wrote: “I think things do not exist...”, only immortality can make them true, but this can only be done within art, in its creative universe. To trace everything back to art, to dematerialise it in order to preserve it with the help of a new work, that is essentially the task of every artist. Or it should be. Arnold Dall’O follows a line of his own, which is not a straight line like a requirement or a path already mapped out. It is open to the “intelligent chance” that is predominant in the history of twentieth-century art, beginning in 1897 with Stephane Mallarmé’s poem “A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance”, which already heralds the twentieth century and its revolutions. Art is not necessary because it would not be free, an image does not depend on the subject, otherwise it would be photography or communication, nor does it depend on coherence, because artists have not taken religious vows and must not be committed to ideologies. Also, the narrative that art has a job to do must be refuted. Dall’O has also created paintings in which the aleatory seems like an authoritative element, his pointillism reminiscent of early Greek atomism, as proposed by Democritus, the particles approaching or receding according to attraction or repulsion, as happens with human beings. Confusion creates entropy; art shows that all this is avoidable. Arnold Dall’O’s Invisible is based on the confidence that all of this can happen and that the reality of art is always something that breaks away from truth because it cannot bear its shackles. The origin is a point. History is a straight line. It is up to us to decide which side we are on.
Valerio Dehò

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